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One in two Singaporeans to have access to at least three healthier options by 2020

Healthier options include facilities to encourage physical activities,
healthier dining choices and health promoting programmes and services

23 April 2014 – By 2020, one in two Singaporeans can look forward to having access to at least three healthy living options at the doorstep of their home, office and school so that they can embrace healthy living as a part of their everyday routine. About one million employees will work in a health-promoting workplace and more than 90 percent of Singaporean students from pre-schools to junior colleges will be eating healthier meals in their schools. This was announced by Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Health, at the launch of the Healthy Living Master Plan today.

Listening to Singaporeans


2. Singapore has invested and done well to encourage healthy living over the years. As Singaporeans live longer and enjoy a better quality of life, more can be done to increase the scale of the healthy living options and their reach and accessibility to benefit more Singaporeans.

3. To ensure that the healthy living options will span seamlessly across the settings of Workplace, Community and Schools, as well as all ages and groups of people, the Healthy Living Master Plan was formulated through inter-agency and community collaboration to make healthy living natural and effortless for Singaporeans. This will be done by introducing “nudges” to encourage people to change their lifestyles, and increase accessibility and affordability of healthy food choice through inter-agency and industry partnerships.

4. The Healthy Living Master Plan Taskforce sought views and ideas through a six-week public consultation involving 530 Singaporeans from all walks of life, across age groups and income strata. The key themes identified through this public consultation are:
  1. Accessibility and availability of health-promoting facilities and spaces are important in motivating healthy living;
  2. Singaporeans want the assurance that healthier options are affordable and within reach of everyone.
  3. Social and family support as strong motivating forces that will influence positive behaviour change.

Progress of the Healthy Living Master Plan Workplace

5. To date, several key initiatives under the Master Plan have already been implemented on a small scale, starting with the Healthy Workplace Ecosystem at the Mapletree Business City in October 2013.

6. Mapletree Business City was the first business hub to work with the Health Promotion Board (HPB) to promote healthy living to its tenants and occupants. The small but encouraging successes over the past six months at Mapletree Business City include the formation of four active running groups and more than 1,000 participants for physical activity sessions. Twenty percent of the meals in Mapletree Business City are now healthier meals with more than half of the Food & Beverage establishments offering healthier options and over 90 percent of stalls in the food court committed to offering 500 calorie meals.

Community

7. Two Healthy Community Ecosystems were introduced in January 2014 at the Sembawang and Choa Chu Kang constituencies. HPB collaborated with Land Transport Authority (LTA), National Parks Board (NParks), Ministry of Education (MOE), Sport Singapore (SS), the People’s Association (PA) and Regional Health Systems, to create these healthy community ecosystems.

8. In the Sembawang and Chua Chu Kang constituencies, HPB also implemented visual cues to 219 blocks of flats to encourage residents to take the stairs instead of the lift; HPB also worked with eateries such as coffee shops to offer healthier food options. More than 600 residents have participated in healthy living programmes such as Zumba, kickboxing and charades to date. Approximately 50 residents regularly participate in The Sundays at The Parks programme during each weekly session at Choa Chu Kang and Sembawang Parks.

Schools


9. The Healthy Meals in Schools Programme was introduced in 2011 and the Healthy Meals in Childcare Centres Programme introduced in 2012. A total of about 100 mainstream schools and 240 childcare centres have come on board to serve wholegrain options, and fruit and vegetables on their premises. HPB’s evaluation in a sample of participating schools found improvement in the students’ nutrition knowledge as well as consumption of fruits, vegetables and whole-grains.

Looking ahead to 2020 Workplace

10. HPB will extend the reach to workers without a fixed workplace, focusing on the following sectors:
  1. Retail - HPB will partner supermarket chains to bring customized programmes to their employees, which include a suite of comprehensive programmes such as health screening and musculoskeletal remediation programme to train staff in exercise routines that will help them break repetitive movements and strengthen muscles
  2. Transport - HPB will leverage tripartite partnerships to roll out healthy lifestyle programmes for drivers; this includes screening and educating drivers on how to incorporate healthy living into their daily driving routine.
  3. Cleaning and security - HPB will work with service buyers to pledge their commitment to extend in-house health promotion programmes to contracted workers. HPB will start with the MOH family at the Outram campus.

11. HPB will also replicate the model used in Mapletree Business City to at least 15 business parks and industrial estates to create more a health-promoting ecosystem in worksites with natural co-location of companies by 2020.

Community

12. The community ecosystem pilots in Sembawang and Chua Chu Kang will be scaled up and replicated to a large town. This will include customising the healthy living initiatives to the needs of the local community in other precincts to incorporate mental and social well-being.

13. LTA is undertaking an island-wide sheltered walkway programme between transport nodes. LTA and HPB are also collaborating to integrate health information and visual cues for active commuting at rest-stops located along these sheltered walkways.

Schools

14. HPB will extend oral care to pre-schoolers with the aim to reduce the present caries rate in children aged seven, to less than 50% by 2020. The target in the first year is to roll out the oral care programme to 200 childcare centres and to cover all children in childcare centres within five years

15. The Master Plan intends to extend the programmes to all mainstream schools by 2016 and more than 90% of childcare centres by 2020.1

Implementation of the Healthy Living Master Plan

16. Going forward, the Healthy Living Master Plan Implementation Steering Committee (ISC) will continue the next lap of the journey to implement the projects envisioned in the Master Plan in achieving the common whole-of-government goal of healthy living for all Singaporeans.

Issued by Health Promotion Board